Two LS R-7 middle schools recognized through KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here photo contest

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Bernard Campbell and Pleasant Lea Middle Schools were both recognized in the KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here photo contest. Through the competition, each school is receiving $100 to be used for health and wellness.

Receiving honorable-recognition were seventh-graders in Stu Reece’s class at Campbell Middle School and seventh-graders in Joel Staponski’s class at Pleasant Lea. The entries included photo stories showing how their community helps or hinders healthy habits.

Photos submitted by the BCMS students depicted a proposal to support healthy incentives throughout the school. “Rather than candy/donut incentives, the group of students proposed a plan to install a school vending machine that contained items from our Mustang Garage school store,” Mr. Reece said. Under the proposal, students could earn tokens instead of junk food with tokens redeemable in a vending machine for T-shirts, earbuds and other healthy items.

The PLMS healthy photos included playgrounds, crosswalks, sidewalks, Lee’s Summit Farmers’ Market and Sprouts. Photos illustrating items that hinder health submitted by the students included old, cracked sidewalks, streets without sidewalks and fast food restaurants.  

Through the contest, teachers helped students think critically about how their surroundings – walking trails or broken sidewalks, safe playgrounds or blighted lots, schoolyard gardens or fast food restaurants – impact their health. Third- through eighth-grade students from six counties in the metro area were invited to participate.

KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of Greater Kansas City’s children presented honorable mention awards during the Champions for Health youth summit on March 2, and students were recognized during the I Am Here Awards, held over lunch at the summit.  

Champions for Health is an all-day conference where 200 students who participated in the contest learned to speak out for healthier food in schools, walkable communities, urban farms and gardens and more.

Find out more about I am Here Awards at





About I Am Here and KC Healthy Kids

KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here Photo Contest started in 2013. It has since evolved into a comprehensive youth advocacy program for schools and community groups. The program teaches students how their surroundings impact their health and how to create change through advocacy. The I Am Here Photo Contest is a fun and easy way for students to get a feel for advocacy and have a chance to win $2,500 for health and wellness projects at their schools.

KC Healthy Kids rallies the people in our communities to improve access to affordable fresh food and safe places to walk and play. When our neighborhoods support healthy habits, we are less likely to suffer from obesity, which is linked to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and poor mental health. To make a lasting impact, we shape policies that improve our food system and physical surroundings, and, ultimately, the places where we live, work, learn, and play.

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